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Your beloved dog. You wouldn’t have him any other way. His personality and zest for life makes your house, a home and his mischievous nature – though a little frustrating at times – brings you hours of endless entertainment.
After you’ve spent a few weeks doting on the adorable ball of fluff that is the new member of your family, the honeymoon period is well and truly over and the real work begins. You attend puppy-training classes where you feel a genuine sense of embarrassment when your puppy misbehaves and despite spending hours practicing at home, the improvement is minimal.
This time is a significant right of passage for all dog owners. Though stressful, dog and owner make it through this unscathed and with a greater understanding of one another. And here they are: nine things you’ll only know if you’re a dog owner…
1. Dogs do not care about your street cred
You’ve been out of the house five minutes when he pulls at the lead and you know it’s toilet time. No matter how hard you try to coax him onto scrubland or patches of derelict pavement, he will always choose someone’s front doorstep, side gate or right outside some poor driver’s car door.
2. Scented poo bags are a bad investment
Lifting them out of the dispenser, you inhale their delicious aroma. They smell like a fresh summer’s day. Conceal your dog’s odour, they say. Completely biodegradable, lavender scented and complete with durable handles and ties, they say. But on the first outing it becomes horribly evident that you’ve put your trust in a completely flawed product because nothing, absolutely nothing can conceal that odour.
3. Leaving him unattended has disastrous consequences
You leave him downstairs for ten minutes while you have a bath and when you return your shoe, cushion or your son’s favourite toy has been ripped to smithereens with not a morsel left untouched.
4. Since owning a dog, your hoover has become defunct
If there’s a biscuit crumb, a loose grating of cheese or an escapee piece of bread, he’s had it. At dinner times, he will strategically position himself under the dinner table or by the feet of the most generous family member.
5. If there’s a choice between you, his beloved owner, and a flying bird, he’ll choose the flying bird
They say dogs are a man’s best friend which may be true, until you add a flapping bird to the equation. Once sighted, dogs will bolt for miles in pursuit of a black bird who jetted 20,000 ft into the air as soon as it saw him coming. The sad fact is, not even his loving, caring owner who clothes, feeds and comforts him can come between his canine instinct and that meaty black bird.
6. There will come a day that the dog sleeps in your bed
You were adamant when you first got the puppy that it would sleep downstairs, it would not be allowed upstairs and it would be kept tidily behind a child safety gate. Like parenthood, you soon see your idealistic plans unraveling before your eyes and the dog soon rules the roost. He’s won over your heart and falls asleep snuggled up to your feet every night.
7. The pang of guilt when you leave you leave him at the kennels is like no other
You’re off on holiday, bags are packed in the car and everyone is prepped and excited for a week away… apart from your cuddly canine companion. His big eyes follow you round the house as you frantically get your bags together. The journey to the kennel feels like a lifetime as he sits with his head in his paws in anticipation of his abandonment. As you drive away, you glance back at his sad, longing eyes and vow that next year, the dog is coming too.
8. The sound of barking becomes mere background noise
Before you were a responsible dog owner, the sound of a barking dog made your jump out of your skin, even tense up a little, perhaps made you a little scared. Now you understand that dogs will bark at anything and everything, the harsh rasp of a dog’s bark doesn’t phase you.
9. There’s no better feeling than arriving home and being greeted by your eagerly awaiting pup
You open the front door after a long day at work and he couldn’t be happier to see you. His tail is wagging nineteen to the dozen, his face is as good as grinning from ear to ear and he jumps with such joy and excitement. No matter how downtrodden or tired your day at the office has made you feel, you’re immediately cheered up by his unconditional love and affection.